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Dear Vice-Chancellor or Principal

2013 National Student Survey and annual update of the Unistats web-site: Publication of data

1. This letter provides information to universities and colleges on the next steps in the 2013 National Student Survey (NSS) process, including a timetable for when they will be able to access their 2013 NSS results via the Ipsos MORI NSS results site and Unistats web-site. No action is required in response.

2. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work on the 2013 NSS. This year’s response rate is the highest overall since the NSS was launched in 2005, reaching over 68.6 per cent (compared to 67 per cent last year).

Publication of the 2013 NSS results: Ipsos MORI/NSS results site

3. On 1 August, Ipsos MORI will launch Phase 1 of the NSS results dissemination site. Phase 1 will present institutions’ own detailed NSS data and can only be viewed by the institution concerned. This gives each institution early sight of its data. The agreed NSS contact at each institution will be sent further details closer to the time about how to access the data.

4. On 9 August, Ipsos MORI will make available, on the NSS results site, a preview of all the 2013 HEFCE NSS institutional benchmark data. All NSS data is subject to strict embargo until 13August.

5. On 15 August, Ipsos MORI will make available, on the NSS results site, institutions’ detailed students’ comments.

6. On 29 August, Ipsos MORI will launch Phase 2 of the NSS results site. This will include all institutions’ comparable data and the custom analysis functionality. The custom analysis function gives each institution the opportunity to analyse tailored results for specific groups of their own students, as well as publicly available data for all participating institutions. All pre-calculated data tables will be available in Phase 2 at institution, subject and sector level. Sector-wide comparisons will also be available from this date.

Publication of the 2013 NSS results on the HEFCE web-site

7. HEFCE will publish the 2013 NSS results on 13 August. The information will include sector summary data as well as complete subject level data for all institutions. The 2013 NSS results will not be reflected in the KIS on the Unistats web-site until 19 September (see paragraph 10). However, institutions can reference 2013 NSS results in publications and other external communications from 13 August onwards.

Publication of the 2013 NSS results on Unistats

8. In September 2013, Unistats will undergo an annual update in order to display course data submitted by institutions (by the deadline of 22 August) for the academic year 2014-15. As part of this, full NSS data for 2013 will be published on the Unistats web-site together with the updated Key Information Set (KIS) data.

9. From 12 September there will be a week’s preview on Unistats when institutions will have access to all institutions’ data for the NSS, KIS and Destination of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

10. On 19 September, the data on the Unistats web-site will be available for public access.

Further information

11. As part of the preparation for updating the Unistats site, when institutions submit their annual KIS return to either HEFCE (further education colleges) or HESA (higher education institutions), they will, during July, receive a report showing the Unistats data, including NSS results, that is to be published for all of the courses for which they have submitted a KIS record. However, as stated in paragraph 3, they will not be able to access their complete NSS results in the usual format until 1 August. These NSS data are also subject to strict embargo until 13 August.

12. If you have any queries regarding the NSS, please contact Ipsos MORI (tel 0208 861 8110, e-mail For KIS queries from HEFCE and DEL-funded higher education institutions, contact HESA (, tel 01242 211144) and for KIS queries from directly funded further education colleges, contact

Summary timetable


2013 NSS results

Unistats site

1 August

Phase 1: NSS data available on the Ipsos MORI NSS results site:

  • institution’s own data at the publication threshold of 50 per cent response rate and 23 responses (whichever is the larger), at overall institution level and JACS subject levels
  • institutions’ own detailed data at the lower publication threshold (for internal use)


9 August

Ipsos MORI results site: institutions can preview the 2013 HEFCE NSS benchmark data across institutions: all NSS data is under embargo until 13 August


13 August

HEFCE website to publish 2013 NSS results


15 August

Ipsos MORI to make institutions’ own students’ open comments available to them


29 August

Phase 2: NSS data for all institutions available on the Ipsos MORI results site:

  • sector JACS subject data
  • custom analysis tool


12 September


Preview of full Unistats site including all institutions’ NSS, DLHE, KIS and own data

19 September


Updated Unistats web-site available to the public

Yours sincerely

Heather Fry

Director of Education, Participation and Students


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Date: 5 July 2013

Ref: Circular letter 19/2013

To: Heads of HEFCE-funded further education colleges, Heads of HEFCE-funded higher education institutions, Heads of universities in Northern Ireland
Heads of selected Scottish high education institutions Heads of other higher education providers

Of interest to those
responsible for:

The National Student Survey, Quality assurance and quality enhancement, Planning, The student experience

Enquiries should be directed to:

Julia Moss, tel 0117 931 7054, e-mail